How to Build a Siphon: Part 3

Hey there Trifecta fans.

3D Model of Potential Aquaponics System.
3D Model of Potential Aquaponics System.

Today is the third and final post in our How to Build a Siphon series. So far we have learned what a siphon is, how it works, and why it is important in an aquaponics garden. We have also learned through yesterday’s pictorial how to build a siphon appropriately sized for converting an in home aquarium into a media bed aquaponics home garden. All that leaves us with is where to get the stuff.

Now everything in the materials list in Part 2 can be found at Home Depot, Lowes or Grainger. However, having tried to build these from a tutorial before with no real knowledge at the time of the various PVC parts and sizes we know that shopping from someone else’s material list can be daunting and confusing.

Everyone calls fittings and pipe sections by different names, even the stores. It’s hard to know for certain if you are getting the part the tutorial recommends and often times you won’t know for sure until you go to build it and realize then it wasn’t quite the piece you were looking for. That is incredibly frustrating and as we know from first time experience can really dampen your motivation to see the project through. Well we’ve learned from the mistakes of others and this post serves to remove that dilemma from your experience

. In the links below are every material and every tool that you would need to complete this job. Most of the tools i expect you won’t need to buy but we included them just in case (trust us we know what it’s like to not be able to find any of the 5 tape measures you own come project time). So without further ado let the links begin!


2ft section of 1 in pvc pipe  X 1

1in 90 degree elbow slip fittings  X 2

1in pvc male adapter threaded X 2

1in bulkhead tank fitting (threaded inside/female) X 1

The next two items listed in the pictorial were two bushings that accomplished the task of creating a 1 1/2 in opening that reduces to the 1in pipe across two incremental bushings. You can get those two bushings here and here (color is different but it is the same piece).

However, the reason we designed the siphon like that is because we assume most people will go to home depot for their parts. But, home depot doesn’t sell the single piece that accomplishes our reducing goals. Luckily the internet does, so in lieu of the two piece bushings for reduction we recommend you buy: 1 1/2 x 1in PVC Bushing (you need one of these in place of the two piece bushing combo)

2ft section of 2in PVC pipe X 1

2in PVC Cap X 1

2ft section of 3in PVC pipe X 1

Media Bed


Tape Measure

Hand Saw or Reciprocating Saw (the cuts can easily be made with a hand saw it just takes more time and effort. If you are thinking aquaponics is going to be a long term project for you go with the reciprocating)

Power Drill  Just about any power drill is going to work for this project so there’s no need to go out and buy a new one. This is just the one we bought after going through a couple. When you do as much circle drilling as we do media beds you’ll want a durable drill. Especially when you frequently drill on metal and wood tanks instead of plastic.

1 3/4 in circle bit

So that’s it folks. You now have everything you need to build a bell siphon. By now you know the background of the siphon and why we integrate it into a media bed system. You have the detailed pictorial on how to build one from scratch and now you have all the tools and materials you need to accomplish the task.

Now siphon building can be challenging especially if you aren’t one who works with power tools or saws often. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake but remember always measure twice before you cut. And please ask us any questions you may have about the construction or any of the info presented in the past three posts.

The goal was to make this guide as user friendly and approachable as possible. We want it to be for people of all skill levels and aquaponics backgrounds. If you do have any questions come up during your build we are more than happy to clarify anything. We are always just an email away. Thanks for reading.

The Trifecta Team


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